University of Oulu

Sarris T, Palmroth M, Aikio A, Buchert SC, Clemmons J, Clilverd M, Dandouras I, Doornbos E, Goodwin LV, Grandin M, Heelis R, Ivchenko N, Moretto-Jørgensen T, Kervalishvili G, Knudsen D, Liu H-L, Lu G, Malaspina DM, Marghitu O, Maute A, Miloch WJ, Olsen N, Pfaff R, Stolle C, Talaat E, Thayer J, Tourgaidis S, Verronen PT and Yamauchi M (2023) Plasma-neutral interactions in the lower thermosphere-ionosphere: The need for in situ measurements to address focused questions. Front. Astron. Space Sci. 9:1063190. doi: 10.3389/fspas.2022.1063190

Plasma-neutral interactions in the lower thermosphere-ionosphere : the need for in situ measurements to address focused questions

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Author: Sarris, Theodoros1; Palmroth, Minna2,3; Aikio, Anita4;
Organizations: 1Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Democritus University of Thrace, Xanthi, Greece
2Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
3Space and Earth Observation Centre, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland
4Space Physics and Astronomy Research Unit, University of Oulu, Finland
5Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF), Uppsala, Sweden
6Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, United States
7British Antarctic Survey (UKRI-NERC), Cambridge, United Kingdom
8Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), De Bilt, Netherlands
9New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, NJ, United States
10Center for Space Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, TX, United States
11Division of Space and Plasma Physics, Royal Institute of Technology KTH, Stockholm, Sweden
12NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, United States
13GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany
14Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
15High Altitude Observatory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, United States
16Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, United States
17Institute for Space Sciences, Bucharest, Romania
18Department of Physics, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
19DTU Space, Technical University of Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark
20Heliophysics Science Division, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States
21Leibniz Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the University of Rostock, Kuehlungsborn, Germany
22National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Washington, DC, United States
23Space Weather Technology, Research, and Education Center (SWx TREC), University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO, United States
24Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF), Kiruna, Sweden
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 20.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Frontiers Media, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-09-11


The lower thermosphere-ionosphere (LTI) is a key transition region between Earth’s atmosphere and space. Interactions between ions and neutrals maximize within the LTI and in particular at altitudes from 100 to 200 km, which is the least visited region of the near-Earth environment. The lack of in situ co-temporal and co-spatial measurements of all relevant parameters and their elusiveness to most remote-sensing methods means that the complex interactions between its neutral and charged constituents remain poorly characterized to this date. This lack of measurements, together with the ambiguity in the quantification of key processes in the 100–200 km altitude range affect current modeling efforts to expand atmospheric models upward to include the LTI and limit current space weather prediction capabilities. We present focused questions in the LTI that are related to the complex interactions between its neutral and charged constituents. These questions concern core physical processes that govern the energetics, dynamics, and chemistry of the LTI and need to be addressed as fundamental and long-standing questions in this critically unexplored boundary region. We also outline the range of in situ measurements that are needed to unambiguously quantify key LTI processes within this region, and present elements of an in situ concept based on past proposed mission concepts.

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Series: Frontiers in astronomy and space sciences
ISSN: 2296-987X
ISSN-E: 2296-987X
ISSN-L: 2296-987X
Volume: 9
Article number: 1063190
DOI: 10.3389/fspas.2022.1063190
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 115 Astronomy and space science
Copyright information: © 2023 Sarris, Palmroth, Aikio, Buchert, Clemmons, Clilverd, Dandouras, Doornbos, Goodwin, Grandin, Heelis, Ivchenko, M-Jørgensen, Kervalishvili, Knudsen, Liu, Lu, Malaspina, Marghitu, Maute, Miloch, Olsen, Pfaff, Stolle, Talaat, Thayer, Tourgaidis, Verronen and Yamauchi. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.